Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team's disastrous 2012 season and the decision to fire Bobby Valentine.
"If this is broken, as indeed it is, we're determined to make it right and get back to the success that we've had in our first decade," Lucchino said.
Lucchino described the Thursday morning meeting where Valentine was given the news that he would not be returning for a second season. Lucchino clarified that it was not a breakfast meeting, as had been previously reported, but a mid-morning meeting at Lucchino's house.
"It started with a statement from Ben about the decision that had just been made," Lucchino said. "And then Bobby took it with great grace and professionalism, I must say. I've had the misfortune of being involved in these kinds of decisions from time to time over my 30 years of baseball, and he was exceptional in his grace and constructive comments. … As to whether he anticipated what was going to happen, you'd have to speak to him. We didn't ask him that question. But he certainly, as I said a minute ago, accepted the decision with grace and recognition."
While there were numerous reports of clubhouse problems during the season, Lucchino said the main reason for this decision is the team's lack of success.
"I find it awkward and probably a little inappropriate to go into 'Who shot John?' and what went right and what went wrong," Lucchino said. "I think what's easier to discuss is the record. If we were 93-69 instead of 69-93, we wouldn't be having this conversation. We're in a results-oriented business, and the results did not occur. We have high levels of expectations here in Boston, and I think rightfully so, and we did not perform. And Bobby understood it in those terms. He basically did [say], 'My job is to put together a winning team, to deal with the problems that emerge during the course of a tumultuous season and ensure that the team wins as it's expected to do.' And that didn't happen. So he recognized that the bottom line was indeed the bottom line."
There has been widespread speculation that the front office hurt Valentine's ability to run the team by failing to back him when players complained. Luchino insisted Valentine was able to be himself and had the support of his bosses.
"I think he was Bobby V. I think he wanted to be a little careful at the beginning because he stepped into such a difficult situation following the historic collapse last September. That may have urged him to be a little more careful because the situation was so volatile," Lucchino said. "But by and large I believe he felt that he had our support from the beginning. And throughout, we made it clear, publicly and privately, that when a situation was called into question that we were going to deal with the manager issue at the conclusion of the season and not until the conclusion of the season.
"From my point of view, he had my support. Certainly, I was an early advocate for him last offseason. And as he leaves the manager's office today I remain a supporter, someone who sees terrific things in Bobby Valentine, both personally and professionally."
One of the reported instances of front office interference came when Valentine allegedly was admonished for berating a player during spring training.
"No, he was not admonished," Lucchino said, adding: "Some [players] may have thought it was an unusual way to deal with it. But that whole issue [during an early season game] with Will Middlebrooks, I think Bobby handled just fine."
Looking at this year's managerial search as compared to last year's, Lucchino said the key differences are that the team is opening the search earlier and rookie general manager Ben Cherington now has the experience of having gone through the process once already. He also indicated that the shakeup around the team will continue.
"We do think that there are some things that need to be done besides this. This is not the only change that's going to made this offseason," Lucchino said. "There are myriad changes that will be made. We've begun with the megatrade with the Dodgers, with the addition of Jason Varitek, with the supplement to our evaluation process with Eddie Bane, now with the managerial change, there'll be some coaching changes. There will be a host of changes. And there will be some new personnel.
"We believe we have a core of good players, a core of really positive, exciting, hard-nosed players that our fans can embrace. I'm talking about Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, and I could go on and on. There's a core of good players there. But we've got to supplement them, we've got to use free agency, we've got to trade, we've got to do what we can to add to this team to make it stronger and let's hope make it healthier."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On if the players have a say in who will be hired: "We will talk to our players, of course, the more input we get from players on things, the better. But they do not have a vote in this process. This is not a referendum of players who will tell us who they next manager should be. That, I think, is misguided."
On reports that last offseason the players were told the team would not hire a confrontational manager like Bobby Valentine: "I have no personal knowledge of that. I've heard the same story, that Theo Epstein -- I believe it was, at least that's the story that I've heard -- made that comment while he was here as general manager. But of course the decision was made later than that, after Theo was gone. So, I don't know if he indeed did say something like that or not. You'd probably have to ask him."
On if the team should have reconsidered retaining Terry Francona last year: "I don't want to open old issues except to say Terry was not an option. He told us he was not prepared to manage again in 2012, and we took him at his word. So, no, that alternative was never considered or explored."
On accountability for the struggles this season: "The lack of success that we endured during this terrible 2012 season is a responsibility that's shared by a lot of us, including yours truly, including Ben Cherington and our baseball operations department, including John Henry and Tom Werner representing our ownership. There were enough misjudgments and problems that developed that there's plenty of accountability to pass around."
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox left fielder, who had five hits in the Sox win in Baltimore.
Hour 4. Bradford joins the show to defend the fact that he attends Ortiz’s charity event for free. Alex doesn’t think it was unethical to out Hernandez.
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.
Hour 2. The guys talk discuss Hernandez’s gay lover with Reimer. Reimer says there aren’t a lot of straight guys looking to experiment. Bradford tells Mut he paid for his wife to attend the Ortiz charity event.
HOUR 3 - ESPN layoffs continue. One time Fauria didn't know Sage Steele's name so he called her "Rashard." ESPN has pretty much decided to punt on hockey. Marcus Smart responds to Jimmy Butler. Glenn dreams of the Celtics adding Gordon Hayward in the offseason.
HOUR 4 - The guys kept us updated on the wave of ESPN firings. Paul was blocked by Pete Abe. Fauria still hates Dan Dakich. Will Gerald Green be a factor, again, tonight? The lawyer for Kyle Kennedy (Aaron Hernandez' rumored gay lover) Larry Army gave a press conference.
Some house cleaning is being done at ESPN as reports of employee cuts begin to come out. And how pissed/not pissed should Matt Barnes be?
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
The article didn't actually reveal anything that wasn't already public record, but the Globe "expose" on Brady and his relationship with the Best Buddies charity certainly has everybody around here talking about it.
We spend some time talking Sox as news of the rain cancellation comes down. A few more thoughts on the spat in Baltimore and Dustin Pedroia, plus David Price takes to twitter for his "media session".
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Buck and Reimer debate over whether it’s appropriate to speculate about Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality. Buck says his sources don’t corroborate what Michele McPhee and the Daily Mail have reported about the disgraced ex-NFL star’s love life. Reimer disagrees with the Boston Globe's assertion that there's a homophobic element to the Hernandez story.
Buck and Reimer share their coming out stories and discuss the different ways they decided to reveal their sexualities. Buck waited until more than 30 years into his career, whereas Reimer announced he was gay during his second appearance on WEEI. On that note, Buck presses Reimer on whether he's exploiting his sexuality to further his career.
Rich Keefe & Uncle Buck (Boston Sports 101) talk about the greatest comic book writer of all-time, Alan Moore. They look at his best works including Watchmen, From Hell, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Plus they rank the movies he has inspired (and refused to watch).
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.More from this show
Hour 4. Crazy Al calls in for the second day in a row. A terrible caller tries to make a point. The Arkansas inmates had interesting last meals. Tomase’s epic acceptance speech.More from this show
Hour 1. In a wild opening segment, Kirk and Gerry lash out at the Globe and Joe Sullivan. Reimer weighs in on Cyd Ziegler’s Hernandez take. Michael Holley thinks the Globe would do the same story on Ortiz as they did on Brady and Best Buddies.More from this show
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.More from this show
Hour 2. The guys talk discuss Hernandez’s gay lover with Reimer. Reimer says there aren’t a lot of straight guys looking to experiment. Bradford tells Mut he paid for his wife to attend the Ortiz charity event.More from this show